Wild Romance
난폭한 로맨스
KBS (2012) 16 Episodes Grade: B
Romantic Comedy / Melodrama / Sports

Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA


I am not used to gravitating toward a Korean drama with a sports theme (Running Shirt a rare exception) but the fact that the male lead in this cast was one of my top favorites, Dong Wook Lee, from Scent Of A Woman, Kang Goo's Story, Partner, Roommate, etc., helped me to take the plunge and watch Wild Romance (2012, directed by Kyeong Soo Bae), in which he co-starred with sensitive actress Si Young Lee, who had played with great flair the disturbed, betraying friend to Gu Hye Sun in Boys Over Flowers. I liked their chemistry together in this show, although it wasn't obvious they were beginning to sincerely care for each other until half the series was completed. The reason for this delay fit with the story, however, since both characters supported opposing baseball teams and clashed in personality and skills and temperament.

I loved seeing Dong Wook Lee sporting an attractive mustache for much of the show too, and I wished he had kept it through the entire show, but no, he had to shave it off eventually as his character cleaned up his image. He looked dashing with it, and it fit the rebel personality of his basic character through much of the show. As his fan, I kept sighing while looking at him, wishing he would leave it on forever. (I'm very silly that way with my top favorites). Such was not to be the case in Wild Romance. For the remainder of the show I kept wishing he'd grow it back!

The Story: In the world of tomboy Eun Jae Yoo (Si Young Lee), a female professional bodyguard and martial arts expert, you're either a Blue or a Red. She and her family, father and brother (actors Won Jong Lee and Tae Hoon Jang, respectively), who own a baseball cafe, are die-hard fans of the Blue Seagulls baseball team, which lost the championship that year to the opposing Red Dreamers. The Blues blame their team's loss on the antics of Red Dreamers shortstop Moo Yeul Park (Dong Wook Lee), an obnoxious and ill-tempered bad boy whom everyone loves to hate. He's an easy target to hate because when he wins he boasts about himself with dramatic flair and not so much of his teammates' efforts or talents. Bad sportsmanship.

When an accidental run-in between Eun Jae and Moo Yeul at a karaoke bar results in an embarrassing video that goes viral online (she's able to flip this famous baseball player on his back and make him look ridiculously weak), their respective employers come up with a way to save face: Eun Jae is forced to work as Moo Yeul's bodyguard to do damage control.

Hilarity ensues as the temperamental duo clash many times, despite several vain attempts to put an end to their forced interaction. Humorless Red Dreamers manager Tae Han Kim (Dong Ho Kang) has the tough job of repeatedly bailing out Moo Yeul and Eun Jae as their squabbles land them in hot water with the press and fans. For example, Moo Yeol over-reacts when someone whispers something derogatory in his ear and he beats the young man black and blue, causing him to need hospitalization. A reporter who really dislikes Moo Yeol and stalks him constantly is there to capture the fight and Moo Yeol's arrest by police. The incident creates the perfect scenario for Moo Yeol to be fired from the team, but fate intervenes and he's given another chance to straighten out after he apologizes formally to his victim and pays him money. He does try to make an effort to clean himself up and in the process he begins to rely on his female bodyguard more and more, and appreciate her efforts to keep him safe, especially when she gets assaulted for doing her job. Plus it's obvious she is falling for him too. Their relationship grows sweeter by the episode.


When an old girlfriend of his shows up named Jong Hee (Jessica Jung) and throws herself in Moo Yeol's arms at a time when they are dining in a restaurant together, Eun Jae tries to separate them and becomes jealous. However, in a surprising turn, Jong Hee and Eun Jae actually start to become friendly -- maybe because they both love the same tough guy and share that bond in common.

Meanwhile, people in Moo Yeol's life who seem to secretly wish him harm start to reveal their true natures little by little as the series progresses. He considers them friends and people to trust, but are they actually out to see him hurt or destroyed unless they can control him in their own ways? Could this even include the only man he considers his best friend, Dong Soo Jin (Man Seok Oh) and his pretty, delicate wife Su Young (Sun Hee Hwang from Master's Sun and Masked Prosecutor) who always seems to support him? Or the woman he considers his surrogate aunt, Sun Hee Yang (Bo Hee Lee), who has been his personal house maid for years? 

Can Moo Yeul and Eun Jae overcome any remaining mistrust between them when real dangers threaten to permanently end Moo Yeul's baseball career and even risk his life, and hers? Who will be left standing in the end? Who was protecting whom? Who will pay the piper? Will the press find out and plaster their personal stories on the front pages of the sports sections of the newspapers?

I enjoyed this Korean drama, it was different from the norm. First half rom com, second half pure melodrama, and with an adorable ending. I thought all the actors were excellent. A bit of an examination of different forms of mental illness added depth to some of the characters. They could have chosen to make the show all slapstick and comedy, but dared to break away from that and show a more complex story eventually. I liked watching Dong Wook's character change from an unsympathetic egotist to a more sensitive soul who cares more about others and not just himself. I liked watching Si Young Lee's character turn from a tomboy into a woman in love.